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O'Malley: May Be Time To 'Revisit' Referendum Rules

D.C. suburbs play big role in referendum victories

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Gov. Martin O'Malley celebrates with Maryland same-sex marriage supporters at a rally on election night.
Matt Bush
Gov. Martin O'Malley celebrates with Maryland same-sex marriage supporters at a rally on election night.

Democrats were big winners in Maryland, with no one maybe having a bigger night than governor Martin O'Malley, who saw all the ballot questions he supported approved by voters.

It was voters in the state's D.C.-suburbs that made the difference on two of the biggest issues.

Question 7, which expanded gaming by allowing for a new casino in Prince George's County and table games like blackjack and roulette at all Maryland casinos, was beaten easily throughout the Baltimore suburbs. The rural Maryland vote was split, so the winning margin was provided by big victories in both Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, where Question 7 passed by a combined larger margin than it did statewide.

As for Question 6, same-sex marriage, Maryland would not have been the first state in the country to approve such unions via voter referendum without voters in Montgomery County — the state's largest jurisdiction. The margin of victory in Montgomery County itself was larger than the statewide margin — so large that it allowed Question 6 to succeed, even though it was defeated in the vast majority of counties in Maryland, including Prince George's.

But amid the celebration, O'Malley had to acknowledge that he doesn't want to see so many ballot questions in one year again. Maryland's ballot was a very long this year. In addition to the two aforementioned questions, also passed was the DREAM Act, the new Congressional redistricting map.

Speaking at the raucous party celebrating the passage of same-sex marriage, O'Malley said the petition process in getting laws passed by the General Assembly in front of voters has gotten too easy.

"There was a requirement that it required 50,000 actual signatures. But because of the internet, that's become so easy to do electronically, that the legislature probably needs to revisit that," O'Malley said.

The website MDPetitions.com, run by Republican Maryland Del. Neil Parrott, was behind the push to get the DREAM Act, redistricting, and same-sex marriage on the ballot.

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